Notes from Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show


The Neal Huntington Show

notes from Sunday July 10, 2011. Once again, this is recapped as quickly and briefly as possible. If you have questions send them to us on Twitter and we will give our take on the show.

The tweet question of the week was from @jamie:  Any chance the Bucs get a power bat at the deadline?

Neal Huntington: Practically its easy to criticize offense.  As we look at whats out there, there aren’t a lot of power bats out there.  In a perfect world we’d love that bat to be Pedro Alvarez.  We want him to take a breath.  Hopefully we have our power bat from within.

This year there are still players available in August.  There will still be deals made.  Contracts nearing free agency.

Yes, bat, bullpen arm, element for the pitching staff.  But it has to make sense.  How does it make us better?  Our best options might be from within.  But yes in theory we would like to add to the lineup .

Greg Brown: Quoted Bob Nutting about no restrictions of financing.  Neal needs to do that, (look at options)

Neal Huntington:  Other part of quote is we wont mortgage future.  There will be a point in time when we stretch.  It might be 2011 season.  We’re going to do everything in our power to make this team as strong as we can.

We didnt spend the budget this year.  We have flexibility.  Like we did with Chris Snyder.  He has made us better.  He’s making McKenry better.  Making our pitchers better.

A move has to make logical, rational sense for us to make that move.

GB:  Trades with minor leaguers, not mortgaging….

Neal Huntington:  We have to find the match.  A club might be fixated on one player and we might not be able to move.

Neal talked about why the farm system is developed.  He spoke about Rule 5 crunch.

There are players in our system that aren’t going anywhere.  We have to remain emotionless, the fans will hate me for it…..  But we want to win more games at the major league level.  Remain rational….

GB:  Opportunity to add and subtract…

Neal Huntington:  We will explore all potential fits.  Then explore realistic fits.  Who does it impact.  Feel like it’s a relatively good deal for us.  We want an impact.

GB:  Seeing any movement?

Neal Huntington:  More teams are engaing, some teams are teetering on the edge and that has reduced it recently.  As we get closer to the 31st prices get more reasonable.  Scouts are out in just about every ballpark you can imagine.

It’s more challenging (to find a realistic fit)

GB:  Are GM’s changing tone with you?

Neal Huntington:  Perception is that Pirates are desperate.  Perception is we are going to overpay.  They may think we have so many injuries.  We need to make industry understand that we have done this with our own guys…it’s like the catching situation where they thought we would overpay.

Even in the darkest days we spoke about being patient.

Now on the flipside, this is phenomenal, special.  The only way we can continue this is if we make good decisions.   If we make bad decisions, we will be back in 95 loss situation.

GB:  Different tone from Bob Nutting?

Neal Huntington:  His expectations have been high from the beginning.  Yes, they are always high from Bob.

GB:  Adoring fanbase…. there was a sign that said,  I love Nutting last night.  Is he getting caught up in any of this?

Neal Huntington:  Reality is I have supported him.  He has taken more persecution than any owner in sports.  He’s a great owner because he gives you the resources.  Staff, scouts, coaches, facilities, so much behind the scenes that Bob has given us 100 percent support.  Bob deserves a lot of the accolades from sticking with us through the tough time.

Bob Nutting has made it clear to us that we have to do everything we need to do make this team better without mortaging our future.  We need to not bring emotion into it.   We want to win.  No doubt, Bob has made it clear that we will need to explore every possible avenue to make the club better, but we need to do it the right way.


GB:  What was Pedro Alvarez’s reaction?

Neal Huntington:  (Pause)…Frustrated.   He was disappointed.  But he understood that we need to get him going.  When we get him back to that, he will make a tremendous impact.  We have some really good instructors done there to work with him.

Neal Huntington:  It wasn’t as if Pedro was playing real well before his injury.  He was struggling.  Got hurt.  He lost time.  We need to get him back on track…..

GB:  Was this a message to Pedro Alvarez?

Neal Huntington:   No.    Best message I guess was go to where you have had success.  Get at bats.  Get on track.   Earn your way back to the big leagues.

GB:  Rotation has been moved around….Karstens, then Maholm, then Kevin Correia

Neal Huntington:  Maholm likes to stay close to his fifth day.  That was good fit.  We bounced back on forth on Karstens and Correia.  Outside chance Corriea could be an All-Star.  James and Charlie will get extra rest, that’s good thing for them.

GB:  Does anything go into it with Reds and Cards coming next?

Neal Huntington:  It was.  We put some thought process about how we come out of the All Star Break.   But we can’t get perfect matchups.  So we have some neutral matchups.  Some good match ups.    Some maybe not so good.

GB:  Sean Gallagher nice start what’s long term goal for him?

Neal Huntington:  Sean was big time prospects.  Lost his options.  Wanted to keep him in rotation.  Rediscover.  He really struggled.  We want to win games in Indianapolis.  He has done nice job.  Stuff is about same, but has commanded it better.  Who knows, he might be working closer to when he can help us again.

Garrett Olson’s option clock ran out too…got shoved into the bullpen.  He has really responded well.

Equivalent Baserunning Runs above average, created by Dan Fox was discussed.  Neal discussed positive impacts and some small negative impacts.  Huntington shared that the Pirates own several stats that they won’t be sharing on Baseball Prospectus where Fox worked when he developed the stat.

The show was the most focused Neal Huntington Show in history.  Greg Brown didn’t ramble.  Questions were direct and rapid fire.  I missed numerous comments from Huntington.

He was very positive about Bob Nutting of course.

Also sounded like he truly wants Pedro better, no bullshitting about it, he was direct and forthright.  A few questions seemed staged, but no real shockers in today’s show.

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